PM: Freeing Israeli Arab Terrorists Subject to Extra Gov't Vote
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu announced Tuesday morning that future decisions to release terrorist prisoners who hold Israeli identity cards will undergo a special additional vote by the government before being carried out.
Israel agreed to release 104 terrorist prisoners as a "gesture" to the Palestinian Authority (PA) and a precondition to ongoing peace talks. So far, 78 have been released; the final batch is reportedly due to be released on March 28.
Netanyahu has already announced that the final batch of terrorist releases will not include Israeli Arabs, despite the PA's demands.
The new declaration follows a new letter received by the Prime Minister through the lawyers of the parents of soldier Moshe Tamam, who was kidnapped and murdered by Israeli Arab terrorists on August 6,1984.
Tamam's brother Oren has already mobilized a campaign against future terrorist releases. The letter, which was sent via Attorney Nissim Sharifi, asked Netanyahu to "prevent the release of the soldier's murderers and respond to the unanswered requests to this end from both the Palestinian Authority and the US State Department."
Sharifi also noted in the letter that the terror cell responsible for Tamam's death still actively supports terrorism from prison and that its members have joined the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.
He added that the Supreme Court has ruled in the past that terrorists who are Israeli citizens do not deserve extra lenience but rather added severity, because they were obligated to uphold the laws of the state of Israel. In considering an appeal by murderer Nimr Daka, the court said that leaving terrorists of this kind alive, albeit behind bars, "was kindness enough."
Sharifi concluded, "It remains to be seen whether the Israeli government will indeed release terrorists who are Israeli citizens or adopt a stricter approach towards them, especially in light of the fact that they still belong to terrorist organizations."
Netanyahu responded to the letter through his own legal advisor, Dr. Ariel Shmuel, and promised that "future decisions to release Israeli Arabs will require the government's approval."